The Outdoorsman

Urban Camping - Vertical camping in the city

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter December Outdoor Living Newsletter
Vertical camping in the city
Experience vertical camping with Urban Camping
(Courtesy of import.exportArchitecture)

For many of us, the idea of Urban Camping - camping at open spaces within or at the outskirts of an urban center - may sound a bit self-contradictory. That's because when we think of camping, we probably conjure mental images of pitching a tent or parking an RV on a campsite in the wilderness, surrounded by nature and far away from the bustle of the city. When we think of camping, we are likely to imagine ourselves sitting in front of a fire pit, roasting marshmallows, and exchanging stories over the campfire.

Nonetheless, the idea of urban camping is no longer as far-fetched as it may seem. We are all likely to find urban campers in odd camping spots on the eve of a highly anticipated event such as the premiere of an installment to a highly successful movie franchise, the release of a novel in a bestseller series or an international sporting event. On those days, it wouldn't be strange to see tents popping up on shopping mall parking lots and even on sidewalks.

Enter import.exportArchitecture's Urban Camping

Taking on this growing trend of camping in the city, Belgian architecture firm import.export Architecture (IEA) came up with an innovative design for a structure that will allow people to camp in city centers safely and in relative comfort. The company called the design Urban Camping.

Urban Camping is a multi-tiered vertical structure made of steel. Its five platforms are layered one over the other, and each platform has enough space for pitching a tent or two. The enclosed design of each platform and its sturdy steel materials guaranteethe camper's safety. Urban Camping is also mobile, meaning it can be dismantled and assembled at another location and can be stored conveniently.

The perceived advantages of Urban Camping

As IEA explained in its website, Urban Camping is IEA's response to what it has observed as a growing trend in camping at city centers, especially on the eve of or during a big, highly marketed event like the examples mentioned above. The Urban Camping structure presents a number of possible advantages, such as:

  1. Relative comfort and safety for urban campers. It's not fun to camp out on the sidewalk or on a spot in a parking lot. With Urban Camping, there is at least some semblance of privacy. Moreover, campers can move more freely within the space of their platforms.
  2. Encourages urban tourism. Urban Camping presents an alternative to youth hostels and low-cost hotels. It can encourage more tourists, especially backpackers, to come and visit a city even when they are on a very tight budget.
  3. Campground expansion. Many campground owners, especially in or near city centers, can view Urban Camping as a means of expanding their campgrounds in lieu of buying more land, especially when there is not a lot of land available nearby anymore. Because Urban Camping is a structure that rises five storeys high, it will allow campers to experience a different sort of "vertical camping."

Vertical camping in the city

Urban Camping certainly promises to redefine the concept of vertical camping. Vertical camping is actually something mountaineers do when they have to stop climbing the mountain for the night but cannot descend back to the base. What they do instead is to hang hammocks or special hanging tents called portaledges on the face of the mountain and rest for the night.

With Urban Camping, vertical camping takes on a different meaning. It literally means utilizing limited camping space using vertical structures to accommodate more campers. It may prove to be an interesting experience, like sleeping in a treehouse.

Will you try Urban Camping?

IEA's Urban Camping design surely seems like a new and interesting way to camp. If your idea of going on a short camping trip is simply to get away from routine for a couple of days' relaxation, then camping out on an Urban Camping platform can provide the break you need. You don't have to go far, and you don't have to spend much to get that break.

If there's a place near you that provides Urban Camping facilities, would you go out and try it?

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